coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, political activism, Quilting, Reading, Slow cloth, Upcycling

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Election Day has come and gone with results slightly better than I expected, so my PTSD from 2016 is somewhat abated. I didn’t have high expectations for North Carolina because we are so atrociously gerrymandered it is ridiculous. They even admit it. And they get away with it even though it keeps getting struck down. They just submit another that is slightly less egregious and then howl that it is too close to primary or election day to fix it.

I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with eleven Republicans and two Democrats.” ~ North Carolina GOP state representative David Lewis, News and Observer, June 25, 2018

I try not to get too political here on the blog because I use my personal Facebook page for that. But as a left wing independent I am tired of having no representation in the U.S. Congress. I live in a very blue county that has been divided into pieces and combined with very red counties, so that my “representative” is an extreme right wing gun store owner. And I’m tired of the two parties playing tit-for-tat.

Sandy and I went to the rally to “protect Mueller” in downtown Greensboro on Thursday evening, but by the time we could get there it was winding down. I snagged a “Country Over Party” sign and put it in the front window of the house.

Okay, moving on. How about this sewing machine? It belonged to my mother and she sewed many of our clothes on it. She was an accomplished seamstress and also made some quilted patchwork, although her main artistic pursuit was watercolor.

It also bears the last lingering mark of my first large artistic installation. At the age of three, I rose before everyone else, gleefully grabbed a black felt tip marker from the table where my mother was working on a project, and drew a line around the entire inside of our house. The line went over walls, furniture, and curtains. I started early, folks.

Anyway, I finally got frustrated enough with the Brother’s tension problems that I moved around some stuff and released Old Faithful into the world again. It doesn’t like the quilted panels, and the stitch lever won’t go lower than 9, but the tension is so much better and it is all mechanical so I could actually get it fixed more easily and manually stitch with it if necessary. I have the manual and all the parts and brushes and oil so I need to get that out and study it. I was pleased that I could figure out how to thread it and wind a bobbin after all these years. It does just fine with sewing two normal pieces of fabric together, and that’s all I need.

With the quilted panels, at this point I’m just trying to get the layers basted together on the machine. This means that the quilting looks like a terrible mess, but honestly, this is a t-shirt quilt. I’m planning to cuddle up in it, not hang it in a show. There is a lot of freedom in that. And I can just about guarantee that I won’t be making another one.

Sewing is good therapy for me, and I wish I could do more hand sewing, but I’ve pretty much accepted that isn’t an option for very long. My hand goes numb after about five minutes. I’ll stitch on this quilt once it is together and take my time with it.

I’m still seeing an actual therapist, and it seems to be helping. She is very high on anti-inflammation, and so I have started taking fish oil again. Can’t hurt, I certainly have plenty of inflammation. Also working on getting my mind on a more positive outlook. I still just want to play games and sleep and read at the end of the day, and I sleep a lot on the weekend. She calls it hypersomnia. It is a hell of a lot better than insomnia, but I’d like to find a balance. I run out of spoons early in the day.

Positive developments: working on the t-shirt quilt and I got my flu shot. I went to the dentist and my teeth are fine. Now I need to go to the doctor to get my blood panel and see if there is something else responsible for my constant fatigue. I drove to Raleigh two weeks ago and got together with members of Triangle Book Arts. I haven’t managed to get to Gate City Yarns for their stitch and bitch night because Friday nights, oof. That’s a tough one for me even though it is close by. I had brunch with some friends at Lucky 32 last Sunday and that was good. I often feel quite lonely for friends, especially now that the Fabulous Zha K has fled North Carolina, and good for her, I have to say. I plan to do so at age 62, not even five years away. We might even end up in the same state again. However, much of my loneliness is chosen. I feel a strong urge to be alone most of the time. People exhaust me, even people I love.

I have a stack of books that was turning out to be quite depressing. So Little Bee went back into the stack and I’m reading The Risk Pool by Richard Russo. I just finished The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman, Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I miss my Poldark saga!

The electrician did a site visit and we have rolled the electrical work needed into the solar panel financing. Hopefully by this time next year we will get most of, if not all of, our electricity from the sun and just pay Duke Energy the meter fee. It’s kind of crazy since I am now fixated on leaving North Carolina, but it is a good investment for the house and my soul.

Now planning a trip to northern New Mexico in May with the Sandman, where we could possibly be joined by my cousin and her husband. We’ll scope it out to see if that might be a good place for retirement for us. I love planning trips!

art, North Carolina, political activism, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018

Women’s Rally on Raleigh, etc.

Yesterday’s protest rally was a family affair: husband Sandy, sister Lisa, me, brother-in-law Tim.

Women's Rally on Raleigh

My favorite sign was the Black Mirror sign, although I like that the sign on the left covers most of the bases:

Women's Rally on Raleigh 2018

I also delivered my book to Artspace where the Triangle Book Arts exhibition will be installed. Opening reception is Friday, Feb. 2 evening. I haven’t decided if I am going or not. I would like to. I didn’t have much time to spend there, but I loved the mixed media show by Megan Bostic and Davis Choun currently in the front gallery.

Artspace gallery

Davis Choun - Artspace - incredible work constructed of clothespins

Megan Bostic + Davis Choun - Artspace

WATER IS LIFE! And so are seeds and worms…

Birds cluster around the areas where the snow has melted.

Snow melt, bird tracks

Snow melt, bird tracks

Tapestry diary completed for the week. (My weeks begin on Monday in this diary.)

Tapestry diary 2018

Tapestry diary 2018

Now going for a massage to get my poor back and hips in shape, then a bit of grocery shopping and studio time at the “other” studio.

D.C., National Parks and Monuments, political activism

People’s Climate March, Washington D.C., April 29, 2017

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

Playing a bit of catch-up here before starting my next big photo essay on our trip to Ireland and the United Kingdom. With everything going on, I never posted about going to the People’s Climate March in DC on April 29, so here goes before I forget it. The photos are in no particular order.

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

It was a day of record-breaking heat for that day in Washington, D.C. Unfortunate for us heat-haters, but appropriate for the theme of the march. I got on Amtrak’s Crescent train from Greensboro in the wee hours of the morning, because the plan was to go there and back with no stop overnight. It was the cheapest, most painless way to go for just one person. It also seemed appropriate to take public transit.

Part of the plan was to sleep on the way there, but the train was meat-locker cold. The snack bar sold blankets. I was trying to travel light since I had to carry everything I brought, and I was damned if I was going to give in to what seemed to be a way to exploit passengers for extra money. So I read in the cafe car and had breakfast in the diner car, which wasn’t bad and was enough to get me through the rest of the day on granola bars.

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

I was surprised that there were not more people going to the march on the train. As we got closer, more people got on with signs, but I found that a lot of people weren’t even aware that a big march was happening in DC. There were exceptions, such as the couple who traveled all the way from Alabama and back the same day on the Crescent.

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

A friend was supposed to meet me there but I had not heard from him since his original proposal that we march together, so I texted him that it was okay and I didn’t mind being alone. As if I could be alone in that huge mass of people! I could have marched with any group, but I was looking for my local chapter of the Sierra Club, since one of my goals is to reconnect with them this year. I never found them, but once I gave up looking for them, I realized that I was happier doing this on my own. I could stop and rest, take photos, wander away, change direction – I was absolutely free!

People's Climate March, Washington, D.C.

The march was divided into groups such as spiritual leaders, indigenous peoples, educators, health workers, and environmentalists. I fell in somewhere in the middle with the environmentalists behind one of the North Carolina groups that collaborated with the Paperhand Puppets. When I wandered around looking for my group (who chartered a bus), I found people had come from all over the country. It was uplifting and suddenly I was happy that I made the effort to be there. There were marchers much older and younger than me, and marchers in wheelchairs and using canes.

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

Somewhere along the way I bought a $3 bottle of cold water, took a couple of sips, and then poured the whole thing over my head and upper body. I felt much better after that. However, I didn’t march all the way to the White House. When I saw marchers sitting under the cool shade trees on the Ellipse, I joined them.

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

Deciding that I had done about as much as I physically could, I walked back by the Washington Monument and donated my sign to be used in a giant display spelling “Climate Jobs and Justice” on the lawn there. I heard that Twitler flew over it that afternoon. I doubt he looked at it.

The above photo was taken from the People’s Climate Movement Facebook page.

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

I stopped at the National Museum of the American Indian for a beer and a macaroon – mainly to rest my feet before walking on to Union Station to catch the train back. It’s my favorite Smithsonian museum.

People's Climate March, Washington D.C.

#resist

cloth weaving, critters, political activism, Slow cloth, Upcycling, weaving

Disengaged

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I guess it was inevitable that I would get burned out on outrage. I’m still keeping up with news until I get my mojo back though. Another bad cold did not help matters, but I got over this one fairly quickly. The next major political action I intend to take is the People’s Climate Mobilization in D.C. on April 29, 2017. I’m taking Amtrak up there early in the morning and a friend will meet me there, then I’m coming back on Amtrak late that afternoon. No overnight stay this time.

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Work is busy, and a lot seems to be going on at high levels behind the scenes, which is disturbing for us who actually implement the policies. I’m grateful for my job, and I love my work. I hope that I will be able to keep it until I am at least 60 years old, when I will be able to receive most of my state pension if I leave the university. I would like to retire there, but not if I am not in the same department, which is one of the best places to work in the university. Unfortunately a lot depends on state politics here.

Craving studio time. Weekends are the only time I’ve made it over here so far this year. Right now I am weaving together more subtle checkerboard squares to mount shirt pockets on, for the blanket. Also I’m sewing random bits together to make new cloth, with no real plan on how to use them. Maybe they will go on the back of the blanket. It is curious that my passion has moved to sewing, considering the mental blocks I had to overcome. I wish very much that I could sew by hand, but at some point I accepted that my tendinitis is just not going to allow it except in very small amounts.

My problem is definitely not artist’s block now. It is time management and energy flow. I have a billion ideas. I want to get back to making paper and books again. And plant my garden. And plant a garden here at the studio house. Too many things!!!

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The weather was beautiful week before last and I moved the Shannock loom out to the front porch for one day. Looking forward to weaving on the porch more often now that I have it screened with a ceiling fan and electricity. Susanne, Marianne, and I enjoyed the porch at the studio house too.

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Registration for Focus on Book Arts opens tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. PST. Susanne and I definitely plan to go, and I think that Judy will come for part of it. This will be our third time going to this conference at Pacific University in Forest Grove. We’ll stay on campus because neither of us will have a lot of spare cash since we both are going to Europe on separate trips this spring. I have a voucher from Southwest from volunteering to give up my seat last September that will pay for my airfare or I wouldn’t even be able to consider it. The dilemma is what class(es) to take during the first three days? I know that I want Leighanna Light’s class on the weekend. I had thought to take a more technical class on leather binding for the first three days, but my heart says no. I thought about Jill Berry’s class, but I’d like to take at least one class from someone I haven’t studied (or played, depending on how you look at it!) with before. Now I’m thinking about the Chinese thread book class. That seems interesting.

Now, for your amusement, this is Diego versus the rug. Trust me, it went on much, much longer than these few seconds. Click through for the video.

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I guess the rug won this round.

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art, coffee pot posts, fiber art, political activism, Quilting, Slow cloth

Weekend Update

Well, it’s been a week, eh?

I can’t say yet that I am responding in a healthy way to the stress and horror of the real world, but I feel rested this weekend, finally. I did actually cook dinner and do laundry on Thursday night. I spent this morning drinking coffee at the house, grocery shopping at Deep Roots, and now I’m back at the studio for the first time since Jan. 16. So far, so good.

Other than going to the Women’s March, part of my problem is that I started having spells of vertigo on Jan. 16, so I couldn’t drive and since they happened later in the day/evening I couldn’t get much done at night. The doctor couldn’t find anything wrong so he figured that it was an inner ear problem from all that head congestion I’ve had in the past 6-7 weeks. The last spell I had was on Sunday, and it was mild, so I think that I’m past it. I sure hope so. I was starting to feel like Louise II from Arrested Development.

To catch up…I decided that while my filler strips for the t-shirt quilt were quite beautiful, they just weren’t right for it. I needed to honor the t-shirt spirit of the piece. So despite what the online teacher said, I’m going to use the rest of the t-shirts to fill in the spaces. And if it screws it up, so be it. It was getting too precious and this is a learning piece for me. Plus I found an old cotton knit hippie piecework jacket that I had squirreled away that will be perfect.

Although I will use these remnants and fat quarters and charm squares of new cotton fabric and enjoy playing with them, there is a comfort for me in re-using old clothes. I want to continue to focus on that. I’ve started digging out Sandy’s old khaki pants to use to join the cloth woven shirt panels.

2017-01-15_10-50-16T-shirt quilt evolution.

I noticed that I really liked the pattern of the wrinkles in this piece of cloth so I decided to do a wabi-sabi thing and call it “anti-ironing.”

Anti-ironing

When it starts getting warmer, I will move my tapestry loom out onto my front porch and weave again. That will feel good.

Politics wise, I plan to march at the 11th Annual Moral March in Raleigh on February 11 (mental and physical health permitting) and I’ve bought a train ticket to go to the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. on April 29. I am encouraged by the people rising up. #RESIST

Here is a link to an article that really helped me and others this week: How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind. I am choosing to focus on environmental issues and civil rights, although I know it is all important and interconnected. Hopefully this tactic will help me stay engaged without being overwhelmed, but I realize that I will have to take mental health breaks. As my favorite therapist Stuart Smalley says, “And that’s okay.”